Pragmatism

AL governor shows us what happens when the pragmatic politics shoe is on the other foot.

In the presidential election of 2016, I was harangued and admonished for balking at voting for Hillary Clinton because she was disingenuous about combatting police brutality. Having a son in a country where police are excused from shooting black children made that issue a singular one for me. Folks couldn’t really argue against that so I as told to subordinate that for pragmatic gain. Clinton would ensure a liberal SCOTUS and that would have far reaching effects on police brutality among other issues. Well, Governor Ivey has taught us that sword cuts both ways…

“I will cast my ballot on December the 12,” [Alabama governor] Ivey told reporters. “And I do believe that the nominee of the party is the one I will vote for.”

She attributed her decision to a desire to preserve the advantage Republicans hold over Democrats in the Senate, which has enabled them to advance key judicial nominations and other elements of the GOP agenda.

Alabama’s GOP governor says she plans to vote for Roy Moore – The Washington Post

Republicans look for exit strategy in Roy Moore saga – CNNPolitics

Popcorn!

Sen. Cory Gardner was quick out the gate to say Moore should be expelled if he ends up in the Senate — something that requires a two-thirds majority vote and hasn’t been done in 155 years. Gardner, head of the Senate Republican campaign committee, released a stunning statement, stating clearly that if Moore “refuses to withdraw and wins, the Senate should vote to expel him.”

Source: Republicans look for exit strategy in Roy Moore saga – CNNPolitics

Professor resigns after allegations he sexually abused minors as a priest – CNN

In a statement last week, the Diocese of Brooklyn included him in a list of those who had been “dispensed from the clerical state.” The decree was issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, “which is the Vatican office authorized to deal with cases involving sexual abuse of minors by a cleric.”

Professor resigns after allegations he sexually abused minors as a priest – CNN

Me, too?

Sexual harassment and abuse have been front and center lately. I’ve been wondering how much of this is because men enjoy more power than women or something endemic to them?

Let Us Make this Week Holy

Let us resolve to make this week holy by claiming Christ’s redemptive grace and by living holy lives. The Word became flesh and redeemed us by his holy life and holy death. This week especially, let us accept redemption by living grateful, faithful, prayerful, generous, just and holy lives. Let us resolve to make this week holy by reading and meditating Holy Scripture. So often, we get caught up in the hurry of daily living. As individuals and as families, reserve prime time to be with Jesus, to hear the cries of the children waving palm branches, to see the Son of Man riding on an ass’ colt, to feel the press of the crowd, to be caught up in the “Hosannas” and to realize how the cries of acclamation will yield to the garden of suffering, to be there and watch as Jesus is sentenced by Pilate to Calvary, to see him rejected, mocked, spat upon, beaten and forced to carry a heavy cross, to hear the echo of the hammer, to feel the agony of the torn flesh and strained muscles, to know Mary’s anguish as he hung three hours before he died. We recoil before the atrocities of war, gang crime, domestic violence and catastrophic illness. Unless we personally and immediately are touched by suffering, it is easy to read Scripture and to walk away without contacting the redemptive suffering that makes us holy. The reality of the Word falls on deaf ears.

Let us take time this week to be present to someone who suffers. Sharing the pain of a fellow human will enliven Scripture and help us enter into the holy mystery of the redemptive suffering of Christ. Let us resolve to make this week holy by participating in the Holy Week services of the Church, not just by attending, but also by preparing, by studying the readings, entering into the Spirit, offering our services as ministers of the Word or Eucharist, decorating the church or preparing the environment for worship. Let us sing, “Lord, have mercy,” and “Hosanna.”
Let us praise the Lord with our whole heart and soul and mind and strength, uniting with the suffering Church throughout the world — in Rome and Northern Ireland, in Syria and Lebanon, in South Africa and Angola, India and China, Nicaragua and El Salvador, in Washington, D.C., and Jackson, Mississippi. Let us break bread together; let us relive the holy and redemptive mystery. Let us do it in memory of him, acknowledging in faith his real presence upon our altars. Let us resolve to make this week holy by sharing holy peace and joy within our families, sharing family prayer on a regular basis, making every meal a holy meal where loving conversations bond family members in unity, sharing family work without grumbling, making love not war, asking forgiveness for past hurts and forgiving one another from the heart, seeking to go all the way for love as Jesus went all the way for love. Let us resolve to make this week holy by sharing holy peace and joy with the needy, the alienated, the lonely, the sick and afflicted, the untouchable. Let us unite our sufferings, inconveniences and annoyances with the suffering of Jesus. Let us stretch ourselves, going beyond our comfort zones to unite ourselves with Christ’s redemptive work.

We unite ourselves with Christ’s redemptive work when we reconcile, when we make peace, when we share the good news that God is in our lives, when we reflect to our brothers and sisters God’s healing, God’s forgiveness, God’s unconditional love. Let us be practical, reaching out across the boundaries of race and class and status to help somebody, to encourage and affirm somebody, offering to the young an incentive to learn and grow, offering to the downtrodden resources to help themselves. May our fasting be the kind that saves and shares with the poor, that actually contacts the needy, that gives heart to heart, that touches and nourishes and heals. During this Holy Week when Jesus gave his life for love, let us truly love one another.

—Sr. Thea Bowman FSPA

It’s Complicated

The WaPo recently reported on Trump’s latest attempt to squirm out of his impossible campaign promise to build a wall on the Mexico-U.S. border paid for by Mexico. It is equal parts clown action and cynical maneuvering.

An import tax is pure clown action because any tax that we impose Mexico can as well in retaliation. They are a sovereign nation able to levy any taxes they wish. And they’ve said that they will do exactly that and even go beyond. According to the WaPo:

Mexico’s economy secretary, Ildefonso Guajardo, said this week that Mexico is prepared to “mirror” any action by the United States to raise tariffs or impose taxes on imports. Guajardo has also said it might be necessary for Mexico to walk away from NAFTA — a once-unthinkable idea — if there was no benefit in the negotiations for his country.

And it’s not like we are immune to such retaliatory action:

Every day, goods valued at $1.4 billion cross the U.S.-Mexico border, and millions of jobs are linked to trade on both sides. Mexico is the world’s second-largest customer for American-made products, and 80 percent of Mexican exports — automobiles, flat-screen TVs, avocados — are sold to the United States.

So that $600 flat screen will now cost the American customer $720. That’s $600 plus $120 to pay the 20% import tax Trump imposed. After all is Best Buy or the TV manufacturer going to eat that cost? No. We are. And not just at the cash register. Try American jobs as well. Which brings me to the cynical maneuvering part of this story.

Trump knows damn well Mexico will not pay an import tax. Americans will. Sure such a tax hurts Mexican exports but Mexico can do much of the same damage to us. That’s why no one wins in a trade war, except perhaps the tax man, surely a high GOP priority. With Americans paying the import tax, Trump is attempting to bamboozle his supporters into thinking Mexico is paying for the wall in a “complicated form.” And like any con, the mark is always the only one who pays. Unfortunately, because marks can vote, we are along for the ride.

Defeating Abortion

A more important driver of the declining abortion rate, Jones said, appears to be improved access to contraception, particularly long-acting birth control options like IUDs. She noted that women in the United States have been using the highly effective devices in growing numbers for more than a decade, and said the declining birthrate suggests more women are preventing unwanted pregnancies.

U.S. Abortion Rate Falls To Lowest Level Since Roe v. Wade

And that’s why I support effective contraception 100%. This issue is where the Church has lost just about all moral authority. Not only is next to no one listening for practical reasons. It’s schizophrenia over the obvious moral need for birth control (not frankly ridiculous euphemisms like “birth spacing”) and trying to call “artificial” contraception evil, leave even fewer listening on moral grounds. The fruits are clear. Even with sexually active couples who wouldn’t abort, using birth control reduces those (hundreds? thousands?) of conceived children that fail to implant. Why should we support more of that given the choice?

If the Church really wants to talk about the theology of the body, let’s talk about those conscious decisions about using our bodies in God’s service honestly, intentionally, and responsibly rather than playing games with birth control efficacy natural or otherwise or euphemisms designed to hide the truth about what we are doing.